Travers Smith Training Contracts & Interview Questions

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Law Training Contract: Application Dates and Information

Travers Smith mainly fills its training contract roles from its vacation schemes. Therefore, training contract recruitment will only be to the extent that roles are not filled from vacation schemes (i.e. there may be no spaces). In general, application deadlines are the end of July for training contracts to commence in Autumn after the two year period.

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Firm Overview

Travers Smith LLP is a corporate law firm headquartered in London. It achieved revenues of £147 million in 2017-2018, with a profit per equity partner of £1.2 million. It is part of the prestigious Silver Circle of UK law firms. Founded in 1810, it is one the oldest law firms in the City. It has 220 lawyers spread across two offices – London and Paris.

Law Training Contract: Firm Specialisms & Training Contract Seats

Over the course of two years, you will spend at least six months in one of the corporate teams and at least six months in one of the contentious seats (i.e. dispute resolution or employment). The other two seats will be in your choice the various other departments – finance, funds, commercial, competition, real estate, and regulatory. There will be one trainee in the Paris office at any one time. The firm prides itself on providing formal training sessions at the start of the seat, which will introduce you to new areas of law and ensure that you are familiar with what you need to know for the seat. There are also department-wide seminars, where team members share learnings with each other. The firm also operates a room-sharing system – this means that as a trainee you will share an office with a partner and at least one associate too.

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Law Training Contract: Past Interview Format & Questions

The Travers Smith process is notably more streamlined than other firms, which is likely to appeal to many. You will face two interviews.

Initial interview with a graduate recruitment partner

Your first interview with a graduate recruitment partner will focus on questions like why you want to practice law, why you want to practice in the UK, what possible downsides you can see in a law career, and some more left-field questions like ‘what company would you like to be CEO of.’

The first interview is described by previous applicants and trainees as ‘different from any I have had before.’ They also highlight that you are likely to face a significant number of moral dilemma questions – these have previously included things like quotas for female partners in firms, as well as the gay bakery case that was in the news a few years ago. There are few competency or technical questions featured in this interview. It appears that the partners are fairly relaxed in this interview, and keen to chat with the applicant at the outset. Applicants have, for example, been asked about other interviews, and been friendly and empathetic when discussing them.

Other questions that are known to have been asked at this stage include:
– Why Travers Smith?
– What legislation would you implement if you could implement anything?
– What would you do if your client lied to the other party about the terms of a transaction – i.e. would you support your client even if you knew that they were lying, and the other party was unaware of this?

  • Following on from this, applicants have been asked if they think it is acceptable to lose a client, as they surely would if they chose to go against their client in this situation. However, answers which accepted this as a risk that would need to be faced to maintain integrity were supported.

The Second Interview with Two Graduate Recruitment Partners

This takes place at the London office. It will involve questions about your CV, and go into some depth on this. You should then expect more technical questions about different practice areas, and advice that you would give your clients if you were practising in those particular areas. Other questions that have been posed include moral questions on whether we ought to give monetary incentives to people with addictions. You should also expect to ask questions yourself here, so ensure that you have some prepared.

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